Domain names have become a vital part of the online world, but many Australians are yet to see the benefits buying a web address can bring.
The latest national survey of over 10,000 Australians shows that just one in four people own a domain name, with the vast majority of domainless respondents (87%) also seeing no reason to get one in the near future.
The first-of-its-kind report – jointly prepared by AusRegistry and .au Domain Administration (auDA) with assistance from global market research company Effective Measure – was designed to provide a baseline performance standard for the Australian domain name industry.
AusRegistery and auDA said in a joint statement that the findings around domain name ownership are particularly concerning.
The companies also noted that 10% of all people who do not own domains actually own a business, while 6% host a blog – both of which are “prime candidates for domain name ownership”.
The CEO of AusRegistry, Adrian Kinderis, said the industry faces a major challenge to address the low level of domain name ownership in Australia, particularly as people who already own domain names continue to invest in them.
“While we recently surpassed 2.7 million domain names under .au, there is clearly significant room for growth with less than 25% of respondents owning a domain name. We know that when Australians make a purchasing decision to register a domain name they more often than not choose .au,” he said.
“What we as an industry need to focus on now is raising greater awareness and education about the benefits of domain name ownership, particularly for businesses.”
The report also the lack of interest in domain name ownership could be due to people relying on other options such as Facebook, Tumblr, email providers or other third party Internet applications.
While business owners were also the most likely people to own domain names, there have been countless articles, essays and discussions on the benefits of anyone owning a domain name.
As well as creating a stronger sense of credibility and business branding, domain names can help with online traffic, search engine optimisation (SEO) and even your personal online profile, as LifeHacker contributor Harry Guinness noted in an article about the importance of domain names.
Guinness says, in no uncertain terms, that “you need a domain name”, regardless of whether or not you think you do right now.
“The way people think about websites is changing, and more personal landing page services like flavors.me and re.vu are popping up—and it takes a matter of minutes to set up,” he explains.
“In a few years it may well be common to send a link to your online CV. It’s worth future proofing yourself now, rather than gambling on ending up with some godawful (sic) domain name because it’s the only one that includes your name.”
This argument centres around the importance of personal domain names, which Guinness says can help you control everything from what people see when they search for you to your personal reputation.
The same principles apply for businesses, blogs, interest groups…the list goes on. But perhaps the most compelling thing to consider is the fact that you can buy a domain for “the price of a drink or two”, as Guinness puts it. “And hell, if you decide after a year you don’t need it, just let the registration expire.”